The Adventure of Rhun and Noni: Part Three
Last time on the Adventures of Rhun and Noni: Rhun ran, trying to see Noni. There she was, standing at the base of the Snowager, staring up in shocked surprise at the head. Rhun gaped as the head slowly lowered towards the Babaa, its mouth opening. Rhun started running.
Noni let out a gruff little “oof!” of discomfort as Rhun grabbed her around the middle and dived into a snowdrift. They both lay in silence for a moment before Noni suddenly gathered her senses.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” Noni shrieked, wriggling madly in Rhun’s paws.
“I-I’m saving you from the Snowager monster.”
“Excuse me, you’re the monster, Balthazar! Let go of me!” Noni squealed, wriggling backward out of the snowdrift.
“Are you insane, you little ball of wool?! I’m saving you!”
“no name? no name, are you in there? Are you alright? What happened?” a concerned voice roared at their snowdrift. Rhun trembled.
“Is that- Noni, is the-” but Noni cut him off as she replied to the loud voice.
“I’m okay, Jerry, just a little wet. This crazy Lupe tackled me.”
“Oh dear, I hope you don’t catch cold. Would you like me to call the Defenders of Neopia? I think they’ll be glad to actually accomplish something for me for once since they can never seem to catch those thieves that steal my treasure. Oh dear, let me help you...” A large icy-looking tail brushed the huge mound of snow from off the top of them. Noni hopped to her hooves and shook herself irritably, though Rhun’s coat was still tied tightly around her. Rhun looked up in blank terror at the Snowager.
“It’s okay, Jerry, no need to call the Defenders. He’s with me.” Noni glowered as the tail picked up the blue Lupe from the snow. Rhun stared blankly back.
“Are you sure? He seems a bit dangerous,” the Snowager said worriedly, squinting at the Lupe. Rhun shivered.
“I’m sure. He can get a little excited sometimes, it seems, though you couldn’t tell from his normal negatively lame attitude.” Rhun had gathered enough sense to shoot a look at the Babaa.
“Very well...” ‘Jerry’ muttered, “but don’t say I didn’t warn you... all neopets are pesky little annoyances.” He plopped the Lupe down beside Noni. After a minute of the Snowager cooing over Noni and drying off Rhun’s coat, ‘Jerry’ planted two mugs of hot borovan in front of them. Noni squeaked a reply before diving into her drink. Rhun stared blankly at their host.
“You... know each other?” Rhun asked incredulously.
“Oh, Jerry and I go way back,” Noni laughed.
“Oh, that is what we called him back when he was just a tiny little Snowickle attending petpet training school with me. Of course, it's been a few hundred years and he’s... well, apparently he inherited Grandpa Snowager’s hoard.”
“And a fat lot of good it’s done me,” Snowy grumbled. “I can’t move it; there’s too much. I can’t hide it – there are hardly any hiding places – and I can’t spend it. We’re on Terror Mountain, meaning there isn’t exactly a Mall nearby. Not to mention I-” he threw up his head “AHCHOOO!!!” and icy spikes raced over their head (they ducked). “I always have a cold. Grandpa knew I get sick easily and that I cannot live in the cold... what he must have been thinking when he left me all of this...”
“Grandpa Snowy always did have a rather odd sense of humor,” Noni said sympathetically. Jerry grunted irritably. “I’d help if I could, but I guess you could say I’m in a bit of a situation myself.”
“Oh my, what happened?” Jerry asked concernedly.
“Her owner has been petnapped,” Rhun grunted before Noni could open her chatty mouth. Jerry gasped, but Noni stopped him.
“Oh no, no, don’t worry, Jerry. That’s nothing. Rhun here wants to hand me over to the PPL.” Jerry and Noni exchanged a significant look while Rhun stared in surprise at Noni.
“What do you mean ‘that’s nothing,” he demanded. “What are we doing if not risking our skins to find and save your owner?” Noni looked at Rhun, then looked up at her friend Jerry, then back at Rhun as if sizing them up. Finally she sighed.
“Look, Rhun, I should probably tell you what’s really going on.”
“Why don’t you do that,” Rhun said with menace in his voice and his canines clenched, the mug in his paws making a bit of clatter noise as it trembled. Jerry frowned and placed his tail protectively in front of Noni.
“See, when you said how you were just going to take me off to the PPL, I knew I had to do something. But all I could think about was the book I’d just read about a petnapping and a whole big, scary, yet thrilling plot... soo...”
“You wrote the notes,” Rhun realized.
“Ah shoot, he’s awake,” a new voice announced.
“I told you he would be,” another voice said imperiously.
“Ah get off your Faerie Uni, Aile, if you’d really known you wouldn’t have come with me.”
“ABE!” Noni shrieked. All conversation stopped. The two neopets had just stepped into view and been recognized as a Pirate Eyrie and a Blue Xweetok. They looked startled as they looked over to see the small Babaa.
“no name? What are you doing here? I thought I told you to hide in the red pot!” the pirate Eyrie said as Noni suddenly ran from their small circle of conversation and leaped into the Eyrie’s expectant paws. She rubbed her face against his beak adoringly. He rolled his eyes at this, though he gave her a squeezing hug and smiled fondly.
Rhun leaped to his feet and walked forward. Jerry rumbled the ground as he slid behind him slowly.
“You’re Abe?” Rhun asked.
“Abelo to strangers,” the pirate Eyrie said warily. “This is my sister Aile,” he said, pointing to the blue Xweetok.
“Ailemea to non-family members,” she said with a glittering smile. “Now what is no name doing in Terror Mountain?”
“Abe!” Noni gasped as if she had just remembered what she’d been doing for the past... forever. “The PPL sent Rhun here to come and take me away!”
“What?! Why?” Abe glared at Rhun. Rhun glared back, reaching out to Noni and taking the case report from his coat pocket.
“Apparently there’s been some neglect; you haven’t named her, you constantly lose your temper with her, and there have been wool threats. She appears to have made some complaints.” Noni squeaked.
“They actually read those things?!” she said, as Abe said, “Wool threats?!” and Jerry glowered at the ‘temper’ remark.
“Yes, they read them,” Rhun answered Noni.
“Wool threats?!” Abe repeated angrily. “What wool threats?!”
Ailemea drummed her lips with a paw, looking guilty. “I might’ve threatened to shear her a couple of times,” she admitted.
“WHAT?!” Abe said as Noni nodded miserably.
“She’d gotten into my candy stash!”
“Don’t capitalize my name,” Noni whispered.
Rhun sighed. “Look, folks, I have a job to do here.”
Abe hugged Noni tighter. “But it’s a mistake!”
“Surely you saw this coming?”
“I’ve gotten a couple of warnings, but... please! I don’t mistreat no name!” Abe said helplessly. Aile had edged towards the massive pile of Jerry’s hoard. The Snowager sighed and watched her out of the corner of his eye.
“What about the neohome I found her in? It was trashed!” Abelo froze and looked extremely guilty while Ailemea stopped in her sneaking to whirl on him.
“ABE! YOU DIDN’T!”
“It was just a couple hours.”
“Jeanie is going to kill you when she finds out!”
“Shuibee is cleaning as we speak!” Abelo insisted.
“Hold it, hold it,” Rhun said. “I’m confused. What’s going on?”
Ailemea answered, glaring at Abelo. “Jeanie is our owner and she is going to murder this Eyrie when she finds out that he and our brother Shuibee were playing Yooyuball in the HOUSE!”
Rhun frowned. “And this is why you told the Babaa to hide in the red pot where I found her?”
Abelo looked flustered. “Well, yeah.”
Rhun glowered at Noni. “You said you didn’t know what happened!”
“Oh please, like I am supposed to understand all the sports Abe plays? Honestly.” Noni was curled comfortably in the crook of Abe’s arm.
“Well, this doesn’t explain the other complaints,” Rhun grumbled. “Losing your temper?”
“Probably when I was practicing my Pirate voice,” Abe admitted. “no name always volunteered to be called maggot or scoundrels...” Rhun rolled his eyes. Pirate pets.
“Well, what about not naming her? no name is a really lame name to have.”
“Hey!” Noni snapped.
“Well, I could never figure out what to call her and after awhile... no name just kind of fit,” Abe said helplessly.
“I like Noni,” the Babaa volunteered.
Abe considered it and smiled. “Me too.”
Rhun growled and brought them back to the present matter. “What about the neglect?”
“I’m gone a lot, flying my family places. Noni stays home alone sometimes, but she doesn’t mind!”
“Well, it looks to me like this case wasn’t worth anything,” Rhun sighed.
“That’s weird. You wouldn’t think the PPL would make such mistakes like this.”
Rhun shook his head, realizing he had to do something he’d been putting off for too long. “No, no, they don’t.”
The PPL was not an unfamiliar building to Rhun, and neither was the office that he led his new friends to. He somehow felt better when he told them about himself and why this had all happened. Then they had announced they would go with him (except for the Snowager, of course) and he had felt the world lift off of his shoulders.
The office they entered was much neater than Rhun’s. Every single paper seemed to have its own place, and all the books were arranged alphabetically on shelves. There was even a filing cabinet. But on the desk at the end of the large office, there was a picture identical to the one on Rhun’s desk. A young Lupe with a red bow poking from behind her ear, her two front teeth missing smiled out at them.
Aile saw it a second after Rhun’s eyes landed on it, and she turned to him. “Is that-?”
“Yeah,” he muttered. The Cybunny Secretary had told them to make themselves comfortable and that Mr. Kahl would be with them in a moment. Rhun sat himself in front of the desk in the comfortable black armchairs. His friends followed suit, Noni sitting comfortably.
They’d been there a few minutes when a tall Lupe entered the room with a pile of cases under his arm. His blue fur was identical to that of the little Lupe girl’s. He could’ve been Rhun’s twin. The small company of friends turned to face him and he saw them all with surprise. His eyes fell on Rhun and widened with surprise, then he slowly went around his desk and sat down, placing the files he carried on the desk.
“Hello, Rhun,” he said.
“I see you’ve brought the Babaa... with the owner.”
“Lets skip the fake formalities, brother,” Rhun sighed. Kahl grimaced.
“I know you’re angry, but-”
“Let me just get it out. We were a happy family living in the free fields of Neopia when you decided to work for the PPL. This led the rest of the family to finding lives in Neopia. You encouraged our little sister...” Rhun paused and both of the Lupes looked at the picture of the grinning young Lupe. “...to be adopted as a pet. And then of course you refused to tell me who had adopted her.”
“Rhun, you know the rules; she wouldn’t remember us. It’s been too long. You can’t keep blaming me-”
“Stop, Kahl. I don’t blame you... I just...” Rhun sighed and grabbed the picture, looking at it with a frown. “I should’ve been the one there when she found her family. Instead I...”
“Ignored her existence in the hope she’d come home?” Kahl supplied. Rhun sighed and nodded.
“Yeah. But you, Kahl, to go through all of this-” He gestured at Noni (who had just been officially named as much) and Abe and Aile. “You could’ve written.”
“You know I did.”
Rhun sighed, running a paw through his fur. Noni leaped into his lap and head-butted him in the stomach. He smiled, patting her fluffy wool (Aile had also done some grooming in apology for the ‘wool threats’). “I know you did. I’ve spent so long looking for her... maybe it is time for me to quit.”
Kahl smiled. “Rhun, you’re too stubborn to quit anything. Even if you do close your Investigating business, every Lupe you pass on the street you’ll be searching their face for Lilah, your little sister.”
Rhun smirked. “That’s true, isn’t it... I just don’t know how else to say it.” Rhun frowned again and Kahl smiled slightly sadly.
Noni looked from Lupe to Lupe for a moment before bursting out, “Okay, this drama is seriously making my soul cringe. Just hug and say you’re sorry, for crying out loud.”
The Lupes were startled, but they did as the Babaa said. Noni leaped onto the desk as the brothers hugged.
“I guess I just have to get used to the fact that I need to move on with the life I’ve chosen,” Rhun said with a slight smile. “And bury Lilah with the rest of my memories.” Kahl grinned and punched his brother in the shoulder.
“But this time you’ll be busting up the house with me playing Yooyuball instead of moping in an office with two Korbats driving you up the wall,” Kahl announced. Abe smirked.
“I like the sound of that,” Rhun admitted.
Noni and Rhun were walking slowly through the park, watching young neopets play on the swings and merry-go-round. Rhun looked down at the Babaa and Noni glanced up at him with a glower.
“Don’t even think about it,” she said.
“If you even think about thanking me, I think I’ll vomit in the grass right here.”
“Well, you are just a little anti-drama queen.”
“You got that right,” Noni said with a proud smirk.
“But either way, Noni,” Rhun said and Noni stared up at him. “Thanks for the adventure.” Noni head-butted him in the leg and he stumbled, and their laughter made some passerby stop and look over in surprise. After controlling their uncharacteristic giggles, they continued on their walk in silence.
Their eyes both wandered over to the young pets playing. Rhun’s face grew slightly more solemn again, and Noni frowned.
“Do you think you’ll ever...”
“No,” Rhun answered. “I don’t want to. She’s happy where she is. And right now, so am I.”